SOMERVILLE – Senior quarterback Ryan McDonald passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more as the Tufts University football team defeated Colby College 48-0 on Seniors Day at Ellis Oval on Saturday.
|Jack Duffy was one of 26 seniors honored before the game|
The Jumbos (6-2) honored 26 seniors before the game and then went out and finished their 2018 home schedule undefeated (4-0). The 48-point margin of victory is the most for Tufts against Colby in the 109-year history of the series.
Defensively, the Jumbos limited Colby (2-6) to 124 total yards while posting their second shutout of the year. Tufts built a 35-0 halftime lead and finished the game with 488 yards of total offense.
McDonald, who became the Jumbos' all-time leader in total offense last week, scored on a six-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. That capped a 14-play, 91-yard drive that included a 17-yard McDonald run to convert a third and 10 play.
A 10-yard sack by junior Stephen Timmins helped the Jumbos force a punt on Colby's first possession. The hosts turned that into a 13-play, 69-yard touchdown drive as McDonald passed 10 yards to junior TE Winton Blount for a 14-0 advantage at 1:18 of the first quarter. Sophomore RB Mike Pedrini rushed for 27 yards and caught a 23-yard pass during the drive.
Colby earned its only first down of the first half on the next drive as senior Jake Schwern had a 14-yard run. After punting, they then held the Jumbos including a 10-yard sack by sophomore Carson Katen.
After a third consecutive Colby punt - a 55-yarder by freshman Moises Celaya aided by a strong wind - Tufts took over and soon extended its margin to 21-0 on a two-yard TD run by senior Dom Borelli. Back-to-back pass interference penalties against the Mules aided the Jumbo drive.
An eight-yard sack shared by seniors Jared Ahsler and Nmesoma Nwafor helped force another Mules punt and the Jumbos soon took a 28-0 lead. An 18-yard McDonald pass to Borelli and a 16-yard completion to senior Jack Dolan set up a four-yard touchdown run by the quarterback at 2:02 of the second quarter.
The aforementioned wind worked to Tufts' advantage when it held up the ensuing kickoff and Jumbo senior Jack Duffy was able to recover it at the Colby 25 when it went untouched by the Mules. However, the Jumbos could not capitalize on it as they missed a 39-yard field.
With just 49 seconds remaining until intermission, the hosts weren't finished though. Nwafor deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and made a great play tracking it for an interception. Three plays later McDonald threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior Dan de Leon with no time on the clock to give the Jumbos a 35-0 margin heading into the locker room.
Tufts outgained Colby 334 yards to 25 and had 22 first downs compared to one for the Mules in the first 30 minutes of play.
Into the second half, neither team scored on its first possession. Colby senior Don Vivian intercepted McDonald at the Mules' 23 early in the third. The visitors continued to struggle offensively though and punted. After taking over, Tufts faked a punt with senior Alexander LaPiana running 26 yards for a first down. That led to a 17-yard touchdown run by senior QB Ryan Hagfeldt at 5:05 of the third quarter for a 42-0 lead.
The Mules had their best drive of the day as the third quarter turned over to the fourth. They converted four first downs and moved to the Jumbo 22 as Schwern rushed for 24 yards on four carries. They went for it on fourth and six from the 22 and threw an incomplete pass.
Colby would have the ball in Tufts territory later in the quarter, but failed to convert on fourth down again.
McDonald completed 19 of 23 passes for 223 yards and the two scores, while running 12 times for 51 yards to lead Tufts in that category. Tufts ran for 265 yards overall, with Tyler gaining 46 and Hagfeldt adding 42 on seven carries. Dolan caught six passes for 82 yards. Junior Greg Holt led the Jumbos with eight tackles, including one for a four-yard loss. Duffy added six stops. Freshman Matty Droulliard had a fourth-quarter sack, Tufts' third of the afternoon.
Colby's Schwern rushed 18 times for 67 yards. Freshman QB Matt Hersch completed 10 of 17 passes for 67 yards. Sophomore TE Ethan Smith led the visitors with six catches for 36 yards. Sophomore Marcus Bullard paced the Mules with a game-high 12 tackles. Katen had 10 including his sack and Will Terzi finished with nine. Vivian made eight stops to go with his pick.
The 48 points for the Jumbos are the most since their 48-35 win at Middlebury on November 12, 2016. Tufts scored 49 at Amherst on October 30, 2010.
Post-Game Comments by head coach Jay Civetti ...